2012-03-08 / News

Bills could create 1,000 jobs

A package of bills was introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives that will implement major recommendations of a legislative commission which spent nearly three years studying the economic growth that could result from further development and marketing of Rhode Island’s ports.

Five bills each were submitted in the two legislative chambers on Feb. 16 stemming from an earlier release of the legislative commission’s final report. That report cited that development of port infrastructure and growth of maritime industries would result in more than 1,000 new jobs, $70 million in personal income, $127 million in business revenue and $8.1 million in new state and local tax revenues in coming years.

Rep. Deb Ruggiero was instrumental in one of the bills that was introduced. “If we work together to market our ports as outstanding locations close to major population areas and target the industries that are poised for growth, our ports have the potential to become much greater transport hubs that employ many more Rhode Islanders,” she said. Ruggiero and Sen. William Walaska have co-chaired the study commission since its inception.

“It is our goal to work in partnership with the Chafee administration to grow maritime employment opportunities as well as promote all of Rhode Island’s waterfront assets in a way that will increase job opportunities for the thousands of men and women now unemployed or underemployed in this tough economy,” Walaska said.

The commission’s final report listed several major findings and recommendations, five of which will require action by the General Assembly. The role of the Rhode Island Port Marketing Collaborative will be to create a place where key stakeholders will collaborate on marketing strategy and coordinate development opportunities. It will also work to develop and maintain a strategic plan for Rhode Island’s ports, facilities and maritime trade, focused on job creation.

“These economic development efforts are being extended to the state’s ports and related marine enterprises so that the Ocean State can seize upon the tremendous opportunities in maritime job development,” said Sen. Teresa Paiva Weed.

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